What is Technical SEO

Content is King. We all know that. And if Content is King, surely, Speed is Queen. But… what if your content is simply full of errors, mistakes, non-indexable, improperly setup, and more? Well, those kinds of issues fall under the umbrella of Technical SEO.

Let’s talk about what that is.

Understanding Technical SEO

Imagine building a skyscraper. You wouldn’t start with the penthouse suite, right? Similarly, before you start optimizing content or chasing backlinks, you need a solid foundation. That’s Technical SEO. That’s both what’s in your content as well as how your content is being output (through your WordPress theme and plugins).

Technical SEO then, at its core, is about the process of optimizing your website for the crawling and indexing phase. It is the groundwork that helps search engines like Google understand your content and, most importantly, find it when someone types a query into that all-powerful search box.

Site Crawling and Indexing

Before your site can show up in search results, search engines need to crawl and index it. Here’s how to ensure the search engine spiders don’t hit a web—pun intended—of issues.

Crawlability

Crawlability refers to a search engine’s ability to access and crawl through your website’s content. If a search engine crawler can’t reach your content, it won’t appear in search results.

  • Robots.txt: This is the gatekeeper, telling search engines where they can and can’t go on your site. Make sure it’s not unintentionally blocking important pages.
  • Sitemap: Think of your sitemap as a treasure map for search engines, listing all the valuable pages you want them to find. Keep it updated and submit it through Google Search Console.

Indexability

Once your site is crawlable, the next step is making sure it can be indexed. Indexability is the search engine’s ability to analyze and store your web pages in its database.

  • Meta Tags: Use noindex tags judiciously. You want search engines to index your main pages, but not the ones with duplicate or thin content.
  • HTTP Status Codes: Ensure that your pages return the correct status codes. A 200 status code means “all good,” while a 404 screams “wrong turn!”

Site Structure and URL Optimization

A well-organized site structure and clear URLs are like a well-drawn map; they guide both users and search engines through your website efficiently.

Site Structure

A logical and simple site structure helps users and search engines navigate your site.

  • Hierarchy: Establish a clear hierarchy with a limited number of main categories. This helps spread the SEO “link juice” throughout your site.
  • Internal Linking: These are the roads that connect your content. Use descriptive anchor text to help search engines understand what the destination page is about.

URL Optimization

Your URLs should be clean and descriptive—no confusing parameters or cryptic strings of numbers.

  • URL Structure: Keep it consistent and use hyphens to separate words. Include keywords where relevant, but don’t go overboard.
  • Canonical Tags: Use these to point search engines to the “master” version of a page, avoiding duplicate content issues. (screenshot)

Enhancing Site Speed and Mobile Usability

In a world where a delay of a few seconds can mean the loss of a visitor, site speed is critical.

  • Compression: Reduce the size of your CSS, JavaScript, and images without sacrificing quality.
  • Caching: Implement browser caching to make repeat visits lightning-fast.
  • Responsive Design: With mobile searches on the rise, ensure your site looks good on all devices. Google’s Mobile-Friendly Test can help you spot issues. (screenshot)

HTTPS and Security

Secure your website’s connection with HTTPS. Not only is it a ranking signal for Google, but it also builds trust with your visitors.

  • SSL Certificate: Get one. It’s the difference between HTTP and HTTPS, and it encrypts data transferred between your server and your visitors.
  • Security Audits: Regularly check for vulnerabilities and fix them promptly. A compromised website can drop out of search results faster than you can say “malware.”

Monitoring and Tweaking

SEO isn’t a one-and-done deal. It’s an ongoing process of improvement.

  • Google Search Console: Use it to monitor how your site performs in search results and fix any crawl errors you might encounter.
  • Analytics: Keep an eye on your site’s traffic and behavior patterns. Use this data to tweak your SEO strategy for better performance.
  • Scanfully: Monitor your site health and your content health in one place.

Content Health

Taking care of all of the above is a hard requirement. In the realm of Technical SEO, while the mechanics are crucial, the soul of your website is its content. However, there are still a lot of things that can go wrong with your content.

Content Health is about ensuring that the content on your site is not only alive and kicking but also thriving and delivering value to your audience.

Let’s explore how to keep the pulse of your content strong and robust.

Content Structure

The way your content is structured can significantly impact its digestibility and, by extension, its SEO performance.

  • Headings and Subheadings: Correct usage of H1, H2, H3 (and so on) tags to structure your content. This helps search engines and users alike to understand the hierarchy and flow of your content.
  • Paragraphs and Sentences: Keep them short and to the point. Breaking down content into manageable chunks makes it easier to read and more likely to be consumed in its entirety.
  • Lists and Bullet Points: When appropriate, use lists to present information clearly and concisely. They are great for readability and can also help highlight important points.

Multimedia and Visual Content

Text isn’t the only form of content that matters. Images, videos, infographics, and other multimedia elements can enhance user engagement and provide additional context.

  • Broken Assets: Make sure all assets loaded in the content, think images and PDFs, are actually still available.
  • 404 Links: Both internal and external links should not point to 404s.
  • Unnecessary Redirects: The quickest path is always the best path. Make sure you limit the amount of redirects a link has to go through to reach its intended destination
  • Broken Embeds : Check if your embeded content still works. Things like YouTube videos, tweets, soundcloud audio, the works.
  • Alt Text: Describe your images and multimedia with alt text. This helps search engines understand what the image is about and serves as a placeholder if the image fails to load.
  • File Size: Optimize multimedia file sizes to ensure they don’t slow down your page load times. Something reflected in the Download Content metric.
  • Captions and Transcripts: Provide captions for videos and transcripts for audio content. This not only improves accessibility but also provides additional text for search engines to index.

Content Audits

Regular content audits can help you identify what’s working and what’s not. Remove or update stale or underperforming content to keep your site fresh and relevant.

  • Performance Analysis: Use analytics to track which content pieces are performing well and which are not. Look at metrics like pageviews, time on page, and bounce rate.
  • Action Plan: Decide whether to update, merge, or remove content based on your analysis. Refreshing content can revive its performance, while pruning can eliminate dead weight.

In the grand scheme of Technical SEO, Content Health is like tending to a garden. It requires constant care and attention to flourish. By nurturing the quality, freshness, and structure of your content, you’ll not only satisfy the algorithms but, more importantly, you’ll provide real value to your human readers.

As search engines become more sophisticated, the line between satisfying their requirements and engaging your audience becomes increasingly blurred. Aim to excel at both, and you’ll find your website climbing the ranks of search results while winning the hearts of visitors.

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